My Coast Guard
Commentary | Feb. 17, 2022

Meritorious Advancement Program; Coast Guard Foundation honors Eighth District; Swarigen Award winner

By Nicole Bertrand, MyCG writer

Bravo Zulu to most recent promotion through the Meritorious Advancement Program. Petty Officer 1st Class Allysia Helton, a marine science technician stationed at Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Sitka, Alaska, was meritoriously advanced Dec. 6, as result of her stellar performance. The program, which began in 2018, fast tracks enlisted members for advancement. Through the program, if junior members demonstrate exceptional performance and adherence to Coast Guard values, advancement authorities, based on their judgment, can promote them when it clearly warrants advancement. Rear Adm. Nathan Moore, 17th Coast Guard District commander, who advanced Helton, stated, “Petty Officer Helton is incredibly deserving of this advancement. She is an outstanding performer and has implemented many positive changes at MSD Sitka and in the community.” Consistently performing at a level far exceeding her rank, Helton sought out additional responsibilities and excelled in those roles normally reserved for junior officers, chief petty officers, and full-time civilian fishing vessel examiners. “She eagerly took on the opportunity to fill in the gaps during the two-month period we didn’t have a supervisor,” said Chief Warrant Officer William Glenzer, MSD Sitka supervisor. “She gained the respect of industry stakeholders, strengthened key partnerships, and enhanced the safety of the Sitka fishing vessel fleet.” 

Helton served as a facility inspector, container inspector, fishing vessel examiner, foreign passenger vessel inspector, and federal on-scene coordinator representative. She oversaw spill response contractors, accounted response operations costs and conducted vessel compliance examinations. She also helped establish the Coast Guard Air Station Sitka leadership diversity advisory committee and volunteered to assume the role of secretary. She designed and posted information materials to bring awareness to African American History Month and contributions of African American Coast Guard members, honoring their service and sacrifice to their country. Additionally, Helton developed promotional materials and encouraged participation in a domestic violence awareness event. Helton has been in the Coast Guard for 10 years and excitedly looks towards the future with the service. 

Congratulations to the 2021 Swaringen Award winner. Peter Gray is recognized as the 2021 Swaringen Award winner for outstanding mentorship in Human Performance Technology (HPT). This prestigious award recognizes exemplary individual achievement in the selfless development of others in the application of HPT. As the training consultant for Training Center Petaluma, Gray fills a vital role in the professional development of all members on base and has had a large impact. He has demonstrated the spirit of this award through his personal commitment to the professional development and success of others. The selection panel for this award included representatives from each of the major training centers. If you have questions about the Swaringen Awards, you can email Douglas Craft or call 757-856-2012. To learn more, read Swaringen Award Recipient ALCOAST 036/22.   

The Coast Guard Foundation will honor members of the Coast Guard’s Eighth District Members of the Coast Guard’s Eighth District is being honored for its response to  Hurricane Ida. Following the historic category four storm making landfall, which devastated a large portion of the Gulf Coast, the Coast Guard worked with federal, state, and local agencies, as well as companies and individuals to respond to thousands of pollution reports and wrecked vessels, replace hundreds of damaged aids to navigation, and safely open key ports and waterways to commerce. This tribute event is scheduled to take place in New Orleans March 11. Adm. Karl Schultz, Coast Guard commandant, and Vice Adm. Linda Fagan, vice commandant of the Coast Guard, along with other national and regional leaders will attend, as will Coast Guard members from units throughout the Gulf Coast. Retired Adm. Thad Allen, the 23rd commandant of the Coast Guard, will emcee the event. Allen served as the principal federal official for both the federal response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The Coast Guard Foundation is a non-profit organization committed to strengthening community and service by supporting members and families.